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About this Poem 

"'Flux' was inspired by the thirty-sixth chapter of the Dao de Jing as translated by Jonathan Star and D.C. Lau, and by August Wilson’s play Gem of the Ocean. The phrase 'city of bones' is a reference to Wilson’s play."
—Afaa M. Weaver


Afaa Michael Weaver, 1951

I am a city of bones
deep inside my marrow,
a song in electric chords,
decrescendo to mute, rise
to white noise, half silences
in a blank harmony as all
comes to nothing, my eyes
the central fire of my soul,
yellow, orange, red—gone
in an instant and then back
when I am, for a glimpse,
as precise as a bird’s breath,
when I am perfect, undone
by hope when hope will not
listen, the moon wasting
to where I need not worry
that bones turn to ash,
a brittle staccato in dust.

Copyright © 2013 by Afaa M. Weaver. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 5, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Afaa Michael Weaver

Afaa Michael Weaver

Born in 1951, Afaa Michael Weaver is the author of several collections of poetry and a full length play

by this poet



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Black women keep secrets tied up in hankies
they stuff in their bras, secrets of how their necks
are connected to their spines in the precise gyration
of a jelly sweetened in nights they had to keep
to themselves, nights prowlers came in to change
the faces of their children, secrets like the good
googa mooga
I was parading the Côte d'Azur,
hopping the short trains from Nice to Cannes,
following the maze of streets in Monte Carlo
to the hill that overlooks the ville.
A woman fed me pâté in the afternoon,
calling from her stall to offer me more.
At breakfast I talked in French with an old man
about what he loved about